Worst Doominoes of the Week- 7/11/07

With Jean-Claude Van Doom on the move and Jim Doom on his honeymoon, that just leaves little old me to review this week’s comics on Doomkopf. So I’m ditching my traditional Meaningless Awards reviews for more thorough coverage of what came out this week. Luckily, Doom DeLuise is back to reviewing Countdown, and Green Lantern was this week’s Book of Doom, so I’ve already got two down. That just leaves fourteen…yeesh.

Theme of the Week- Comics can be funny

If you like to laugh whilst reading your funny books, this was a good week for you. Three books were released of the “bwah-ha-ha” variety: Deadpool/GLI Summer Fun Spectacular (Marvel), The Tick Comic Con Extravaganza (New England Comics), and Stephen Colbert’s Tek Jansen (Oni Press).

Deadpool GLIDeadpool/GLI was a collection of short stories all centered on the idea of everyone’s favorite merc with a mouth joining everyone’s favorite incompetent superteam. The heroes first team up to stop AIM, who are using a intoxication device powered by Dionysus, the Greek god of excess, to make all the world’s superheroes drunk so AIM could take over the world. Deadpool’s enhanced metabolism and the GLI’s lack of importance mean they’re the only heroes left to stop them. In the next story, Deadpool’s decided to take up residence in the GLI’s posh headquarters, but the team wants him gone. Big Bertha goes out on a date with Deadpool to try to convince him to leave, but it turns out Deadpool’s a chubby chaser, so Bertha’s secret identity as a smoking hot supermodel doesn’t so the trick. Next, Deadpool fights Flatman in the bathtub, featuring the never-before-seen martial art, origami-fu. Site gags aplenty in this one. A series of short Squirrel Girl stories run throughout the book, featuring her quest to reunite with her first love Speedball. Who as you know, probably isn’t quite as lovable as the last time Squirrel Girl saw him. I’m not sure this issue would appeal to anyone but fans of Deadpool and the GLA/X/I, but it was a very funny read that poked a lot of fun at some of the not-so-fun things in modern Marvel continuity.

Next up is The Tick Comic Con Extravaganza, which featured the welcome return of writer/artist Sean Wang to the pages of the big blue arachnid’s comics. Wang is the guy that rebooted the franchise after the Fox cartoon became a hit, and to me there’s never been a better creator that’s worked on the character. The Tick is a humor comic with a superhero theme, not a superhero comic with a humor theme, and Wang’s always understood that. The story centers around the Tick and his superteam (yes, the Tick’s on a team) making a guest appearance at a comic convention. But like always, the story doesn’t matter. It’s all just set-up for the jokes. Wang even uses jokes established earlier in the book to deliver more jokes later in the book. The Tick doesn’t really get much better than this.

Finally, there’s Stephen Colbert’s Tek Jansen. If you’ve seen the New Adventures of Tek Jansen’s Alpha Squad 7 on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, you know what this is like. It’s funny, in a ridiculous campy sort of way. There’s one major difference between the animated shorts and the comic, though. When you’re watching the Colbert Report, the cartoons seem a little out of place amidst all the political satire going on. The stories feel right at home in the comics though, because you’re looking specifically for this kind of humor.

Worst: Chris Claremont

That’s not entirely fair, because Claremont’s New Excalibur, which came out this week, continues to be an enjoyable, albeit non-exceptional read. What really burst my bubble is what Chris Claremont has done to my beloved Exiles.

Exiles 96Issue #96 of Exiles was a completely un-inspired tale featuring an alternate Fantastic Four led by Dr. Doom. Because, y’know, there’s never been a story about an alternate Fantastic Four led by Dr. Doom. It also features a midget Reed Richards who’s this reality’s Mole Man and his blind thug She-Hulk, who gets her ass handed to her by Sabretooth. Miraculously, Sabretooth seems to display several superpowers he doesn’t actually possess, including She-Hulk-level super-strength and Spider-Man-level agility. In a title where you can create an alternate dimension version of any character you want to and give them whatever powers you want to, why would a writer take an existing character and use him in a way that ignores everything already established? And then to top it all off, at the end of the story, someone who may or may not be Ultimate Jean Grey shows up completely inexplicably. First of all, there’s no reason Exiles needs to draw from the Ultimate Universe when there’s an unlimited number of other universes to draw from. Second, the first official meeting between an Ultimate character and a 616 character deserves a bit more fanfare than this. I hope to god Claremont leaves this title pretty damn quickly. Exiles has been one of my favorites for years, and but Chris Claremont is nudging me ever closer to dropping the book.

Which leads me to Punisher War Journal #9, another book I’m getting closer to dropping. Not a whole lot has happened in the last few issues of PWJ. Frank’s been fighting the new Hate-Monger since he blew up a bar full of supervillains (and missed, apparently) and the readers learned GW Bridge was a Muslim (which was revealed for some reason I still haven’t been able to figure out). The story really hasn’t progressed much over the course of 4 or five issues though. Frank’s still tied up in the desert, the exact same place he’s been since this storyline started. Besides getting a new, ridiculous costume, nothing much has happened. The writing is just not there anymore, which is a surprise since the Matt Fraction-penned Iron Fist and Sensational Spider-Man Annual were so good. Ariel Olivetti’s sweet-ass artwork may be the only reason I’m still buying this comic.

Madman 3Which leads me to Madman Atomic Comics #3, another comic with great art and mediocre writing. The last two issues of Madman have been confusing, maybe because I’m not familiar with the Madman mythos or maybe because they were intentionally confusing. The first issue impressed me so much, though, that I’ve decided to stick around a little longer. The writing this issue certainly didn’t benefit from the fact that the art was very, very distracting. Surprisingly, that’s a good thing. Each panel in this issue is drawn in a style emulating a famous cartoonist. As a result, I paid a lot more attention to the art in this comic than normally would have. I spent so much time trying to pick out the different artists that I’d forget what was in the speech balloons in the previous panel. It looks like Madman is finally out of the surreal dream state he’s been in for the first few issues by the time this one ends, though, so I’m looking forward to more straight-forward stories by Mike Allred.

Most Improved: Ultimate X-Men #84

Robert Kirkman’s run on Ultimate X-Men hasn’t really been that great, especially since Professor X was killed several issues ago. It’s been suffering from a whole lot of nothing happening and really inconsistent art. The art this issue is a great improvement over the last, which is really strange because I think it might be the same guy. The best part is that something actually seems to happen, though. Bishop’s finally assembled his team of X-Men, and by the end of the issue they’re in costume and in the battlefield. Throw in a subplot with Ultimate Stryfe (who must not be the clone of Ultimate Cable, since he’s future version of Ultimate Wolverine) and the Mutant Liberation Front and an interesting aside between Bishop and Dazzler over how he powers work, and you’ve got a pretty good read. Hopefully Kirkman & Co. can keep it up.

Latest Book of the Week- Superman Confidential #5

Y’know, I had completely forgotten that the Darwyn Cooke/Tim Sale story featuring the origin of Kryptonite wasn’t done with. How late is this thing, anyway? The cover says June, and the other DC books I have say September, so I guess its three months, at least. But you know what? It really wasn’t a bad story, despite the fact that I don’t remember exactly what happened in the first four parts. Sale’s art is still a joy to look at, and Cooke’s story about Superman discovering he’s not completely invulnerable continues to be a refreshingly unique take on a character nearly 80 years old.

Superman 664Best Continuity of the Week- Superman #664

With this week’s issue of Superman, Kurt Busiek shows exactly how continuity should be used in comics. He acknowledges major changes in the character from other books, recognizes how major moments in the history of the character would affect the current status quo, and ignores anything that doesn’t matter without contradicting it. In Action Comics, Geoff Johns and Richard Donner gave Superman a kid, but that really doesn’t work into Busiek’s plan on Superman. He can’t just ignore it, though, so Busiek addresses it by having Jimmy say Lois is acting differently since she became a mom, without actually including the kid at all. When the last issue of Superman ended, it looked like Superman was going to be brainwashed by Arion. The last time Superman was brainwashed (by Maxwell Lord) was a huge event in the DC Universe. In fact, it’s happened so often, you wonder why no one ever though to make sure it didn’t happen anymore. In steps “Squad K,” the new anti-brainwashed-Superman task force. They’re a logical addition to the story after what’s happened with Superman over the years, plus they allowed the real villain a chance to escape to extend the story. Continuity can be a huge boon when used properly, and Busiek probably does that more consistently than anyone else writing comics today.

The Rest: X-Factor #21, Nova #4, Justice Society of America #7, Shadowpact #15

X-Factor starts a new arc, Nova jumps into Annihilation Conquest, Citizen Steel debuts and Zauriel joins the Shadowpact. I’m tired of writing, so that’s all you’re getting.